How to declutter kitchen countertops — 5 tricks professional organizers swear by

We’ve nailed down 5 of the best tips for how to declutter kitchen countertops, straight from the experts

An image of a olive green, marble and gold kitchen with olive cabinets, marble countertops and splashback and gold accents
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Knowing how to declutter kitchen countertops is vital if you are to effectively utilize this key space in your kitchen. They carry a decent amount of square footage and can easily become a dumping ground, building up mess over time.

We spoke to professional organizers for their five best tips to clear up your counters, from prioritizing what stays there permanently, to how to place your decor. Their tips will boost the functionality of your countertops and make it pleasing on the eye.

To help keep tidy them up, we’ve spoken to a panel of organization experts for advice on how to declutter kitchen countertops and kickstart your kitchen decluttering

Here’s how to declutter kitchen countertops 

When it comes to organising a kitchen, getting the countertops clutter-free is a vital step. 

Aaron Traub, professional organizer, says, “It can be challenging to declutter kitchen countertops and find adequate room inside cabinets, which can at times be awkward or small."

The good news is, with our expert-approved steps, you can make a cinch of decluttering your countertops and whip your space into shape.

Aaron Traub
Aaron Traub

Aaron Traub is a professional organizer who runs My Professional Organizer Dallas, an expert home organizing and decluttering company. 

1. Start with a clear-out

An image of white marble countertop with white wooden kitchen cabinets in the background

(Image credit: Canva)

When organizing your countertops, start with a good clear-out, removing any old or unnecessary items. 

Aaron says, “I like to advocate the less is more approach to decluttering, starting with getting rid of things. Go through each item on your countertops to decide if it is an item you want to keep, toss, or donate.

“I'll usually have a trash bag (these extra strong sacks from Amazon would work well) and a spare box ready for packing donations. It can be hard to part with items but ask yourself three questions to figure it out. Do I need this item? Have I used it in the last six to 12 months? Would I rather have this item, or the space?”

Taking this approach will help make the decision-making process a little easier. 

2. Prioritize what’s kept on the countertop

In order to best maximize countertop space, you'll need to decide what appliances and other kitchen items have a permanent home there.

Amélie Saint-Jacques professional organizer, says, “Only items that are used on a daily basis should be kept on countertops." Though, it's worth noting Amélie sometimes makes exceptions to this rule for heavy items, such as a blender or stand mixer, which would be too troublesome to move on and off of the countertop regularly. 

If you’re going to be able to make the most of the countertop space that you have, keeping only those essential items on your counters is a must.

Amélie Saint-Jacques
Amélie Saint-Jacques

Amélie Saint-Jacques is a professional organizer at Amelie Organizes LLC. She is also a Certified KonMari Consultant.

3. Be clear on where to store other items

An image of a kitchen with white countertops with wooden cabinets

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s easy for clutter to build up on your countertops if you don’t have homes for everything in your kitchen, so it’s vital you know where best to stash your items.

Amélie says, “Pots and pans should be stored close to the stovetop; wooden spoons and spatulas can go either in a canister (such as a stainless steel canister from Amazon) near the stovetop, or in a nearby drawer. 

She also advises to avoid the temptation to have your essentials cluttering up countertops near the kitchen sink for convenience.

"Only keep vital items such as your sponge and dish soap on the counter near the sink, or in a sink caddy, (we like this modern stoneware sink caddy from Target)," she says. 

"All-purpose cleaning spray, even if you use it everyday, can be stored under the sink if there's room. Cookbooks can be stored in a bookcase or cabinet when they are not in use," Amelia adds. 

4. Don’t keep decor on countertops

It’s tempting to add pretty decorative items to your countertops but placing too many pieces in this area will make it look messy. 

Amélie says, “Avoid storing décor on the countertop if at all possible. Not only will it come across as clutter visually, but it will get in your way. You will have more usable space with clear counters, and they will be so much easier to keep clean, too,”

If you want to add a little aesthetic appeal to your countertop area, consider installing shelves (highly-rated acrylic peel-and-stick shelves from Amazon are ideal) on the walls above for displaying a few key pieces of decor.

5. Avoid using countertops as a ‘drop zone’

An image of a kitchen with white countertops with wooden cabinets

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s easy to see your countertops as a dumping ground when you get home and have your hands full, are in the process of completing tasks nearby, or for items that don't have a proper home.

Amélie says, “Don't use your countertop as a drop zone for things that don't belong in the kitchen. Find a more convenient spot for mail and paperwork, for example. If you charge electronics in your kitchen, make sure they are corralled in a bin or basket to keep them out of the way.”

In a pinch, allocate a dedicated clutter basket (this rope storage basket from Target would work well) at the edge of a countertop, window sill, or on top of the fridge, and use it as a holding zone for items you will commit to later putting away properly. 


How can you keep kitchen countertops clutter-free?

Amélie says, “Make it a habit to do a nightly reset so that you can put everything away at the end of the day, and start the next day with clear countertops.” Even if you're feeling tired, five minutes of end-of-day tidying will leave not-yet-awake you feeling grateful come the AM.

When it comes to organizing a kitchen with too much stuff, knowing how specifically to target each problem is the secret to untangling kitchen mess and enjoying a clutter-free space. 

Now you've heard from professional organizers on how to declutter your kitchen countertops, our panel of experts have also come to the rescue on how to declutter kitchen drawers and organize kitchen shelves

Beth Mahoney
Freelance journalist

Hi! I’m Beth Mahoney and I’m a former staff writer at Real Homes. I’ve been a journalist for the national press for the past six years, specializing in commerce and trends-related lifestyle articles, from product reviews and listicles to guides and features. With an eye for pretty things (think: quirky wall prints, scalloped edge furniture, and decadent-looking tableware) but a limited budget, I love nothing more than a bargain buy.